Sunday, November 7, 2010

G20 committee ready to support visiting media

A government preparatory committee for the Group of 20 summit is busy ensuring they are ready for the influx of journalists from across the globe during the global economic forum, slated for Nov. 11-12 in Seoul.

About 4,000 journalists from more than 60 countries, including 1,700 reporters from overseas, have registered with the Presidential Committee for the G20 summit, which believes they will play a crucial role in helping enhance the country’s global image.

The committee plans to offer a simultaneous interpretation service in press conference and briefing rooms to prevent any inconvenience due to language. 

At the media center, the committee plans to run an information center providing interpretation in 14 languages. It has secured 42 simultaneous interpreters three for each language.

All briefing documents and schedules of major events will be provided online and offline, officials said. As a way to curtail the waiting time for journalists to enter meeting venues, the committee plans to give a Radio Frequency Identification card to registered reporters. 

The government and Seoul City are seeking to capitalize on the fifth summit in the capital to promote Korean culture and present the country to a world audience through the journalists. 

As part of the efforts, the municipality has been preparing a press tour, which will take visiting journalists to a series of historical tourist attractions such as Gyeongbok Palace, a Hanok village filled with traditional Korean houses, the Han River and major shopping areas.

From Nov. 9-11, the city plans to run a four-hour tour program and a two-hour tour program. During the press tour, interpretation services will be provided in English, Chinese and Japanese, officials said. 

“So far, a total of 200 foreign reporters have applied for the tour program. Although it is a short tour program, it would not be insufficient in showing the various facets of the South Korean capital,” said one of the tour organizers on condition of anonymity.

On Nov. 9, the Environment Ministry plans to run a tour program to take journalists to the Demilitarized Zone, the 258-kilometer-long, four-kilometer wide buffer zone dividing the two Koreas.

The committee also plans to offer a press package containing five items, including documents introducing the summit’s agenda and participants, a book on Korea, entitled “Korea at a glance,” and a Seoul City tour guidebook.

To safeguard visitors to the G20 summit, the government has been making all-out efforts to ensure security near commuting roads, hotels and the summit venue.

A total of 40,000 policemen and military forces will be mobilized for security against terrorist threats, while another 20,000 will be dispatched to restrict street rallies, government officials have said.

All areas within a radius of 600 meters of the COEX will be subject to special security measures, including the screening of high-rise buildings and biochemical weapon checks.

During the third G20 summit in Pittsburgh, the U.S. in September, 2009, about 2,500 journalists attended, according to committee officials. During the fourth summit in Toronto, Canada in June, about 3,500 journalists came. 

By Song Sang-ho (sshluck@heraldm.com)

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